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*Law

An aid to finding law at OSU Libraries and online, this Guide covers both case law, and statutory and regulatory law

Overview

The term Case law refers to the legal interpretations contained in the decisions of courts as applied to a specific set of facts. 

For a fine tutorial on doing legal research, visit the University of California-Irvine Libraries web page. Cases and Digests is found here

Finding Cases in Nexis Uni

Here is a direct link to that search page.

Don't have a specific case or citation? You have two options here:

1. Do a subject search from the main Search page. Click on Cases under "What are you interested in?" then on which Jurisdiction (Federal or State), and enter a search term. You have the option of entering date or date ranges, also.

2. Use the Advanced Search feature on the main page, and click on Cases as the content type.

HOW TO SHEPARDIZE A DOCUMENT

The Shepard's® Citations Service provides a comprehensive report of the cases, statutes, secondary sources, and annotations that cite your authority, including more recent cases that rely on your starting case. You can use this report to quickly validate your research and ensure you have good law.

Shepard's editors assign editorial analysis phrases that best fit the citing case within their editorial guidelines, helping you make a "good law/bad law" determination.

Retrieving a Shepard's® report by citation can be done in a variety of ways.

The most common method is to enter "shep:" in the search box, followed by your citation, then press ENTER or click the search button.

You could also enter just the citation name in the search box, then click the Shepard's Signal™ indicator next to the document name.

Law Reporters

Case Law Reporters in the Valley Library

While case decisions are widely available online (such as LexisNexis Academic), even they use the print citation to identify a particular case. Once you have this citation, you can enter it into LexisNexis to retrieve the text of the decision.

One way to find the full citation is to use a printed book called a  reporter. Reporters usually contain reports from appellate courts in specific geographic areas and specific jurisdictions. There are separate reporters for state courts and federal courts, and, as the legal field increases in complexity and specialization, there are a number of speciality or subject reporters.

Nearly all of the following reporters' citations are included in the results of a search of case law in LexisNexis Academic: Federal & State Cases.

United States Reports (U.S.) - Supreme Court Decisions (Official) KF101 .U58 
OSU has: vol. 284-date (1931-date)

Supreme Court Reporter (S.Ct.) - Supreme Court Decisions (Unofficial) KF101 .A322
OSU has: vol. 1-120 (1809-1999)

Federal Cases (Fed.Cas.) - Important Federal Cases,
1789-1880 K .F295 [note: this is NOT included in LexisNexis]
OSU has: vol. 1-30

Federal Reporter, 1st-3rd series (F., F2d, F3d) - U.S. Courts of Appeals KF105 .F432
OSU has: vol. 1-222 (3rd series) (1880-2000)

Federal Supplement (F. Supp.) - U.S. District Courts, etc. KF120 .F42
OSU has: vol. 1-108 (1932-2000)

Oregon Reports (Or.) - Oregon Supreme Court (official) K .O78
OSU has: vol. 1-231 (1853-1964)

Pacific Reporter, 1st-3rd series (P., P2d, P3d) - Oregon Supreme Court (unofficial) KF132 .P2 P32
OSU has: vol. 1-46 (3rd series) (1884-1999)

Other state reporters exist and you may often see abbreviations for them in LexisNexis Academic and other places.

Finding a Case Online

Internet sources for Case Law include:

Supreme Court decisions from 1990-present as well as some Circuit Court and some States' Supreme Court decisions are available on the Internet. Click on the Law on the Internet tab to see a list of links to these decisions.

Oregon Case Law: State of Oregon Law Library Digital Collection "contains unofficial copies of Oregon Supreme Court (SC) and Court of Appeals (COA) Briefs and Opinions. Briefs coverage begins approximately May 2007, continuing to the present.  (COA Briefs start with 212orapp488; SC Briefs start with 342or1). The long-term goal is to include Briefs back to the mid 1980's. Opinions coverage is 1998 to present."

also see Law on the Internet in this guide